By Andy Frisk
December 10, 2009 - 23:44
Wonder Woman is treated by DC Comics as one of their “big three,” which includes her, Batman, and Superman. Not often though are we treated to storytelling that confirms the Amazon Princess as such. Her regular ongoing series is a hit and miss affair at best, but Wonder Woman/Princess Diana remains a character filled with great potential. She’s a classical goddess who battles evil in a neo-classical world. Seems like there’d be a great deal to explore here, huh? Rarely is this the case with Wonder Woman. Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 is a rare exception to Princess Diana’s often mishandling from a creative and storytelling point of view.
Black Lantern Maxwell Lord is wreaking havoc in Washington DC, and is attempting to garner an angry outburst of emotions from Wonder Woman. The two have a history. Diana killed him. His superpower is mind control, and a few years back Lord was in control of Superman. He very well could have murdered millions with the Man of Steel’s body and powers under his control. Diana made a choice. The only way to end the control Lord was exerting over Superman was to end Lord’s life.
Fast forward to Blackest Night and Diana finds herself facing a murderous Lord yet again. This time though it isn’t actually Lord, but the Black Lantern version of him. The Black Lanterns’ modus operandi is to work their target hero into an emotional frenzy, then “harvest” them at the peak of their emotional buildup. Black Lantern Lord tries this with Diana, but he cannot seem to stoke in her the necessary rage and fear to make her a ripe target for “harvesting.” Diana is motivated solely by, and serves as a beacon of, love only.
Herein lies the greatness and strength of Diana’s character as written by Greg Rucka. Diana is a warrior through and through. Instead of being motivated by anger or fear though, she is motivated to make war against the world’s evils out of love. Her boundless love for her fellow men and women, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice like the “honored dead” (as she accurately describes them) who have been laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, is at once contradictory and complimentary to her character and strength as a warrior. A warrior must “summon up the blood” as Shakespeare says, but the blood can be summoned as powerfully by love as it can by anger or fear. The depths of Diana’s love is boundless and incredibly sustaining, making her a warrior of rare renown. Many a men and women are pressed into service as a warrior out of anger, often unjustified as it is justified, or fear of annihilation, but Diana is a warrior by choice, out of love.
Love is a beautiful motivator, and Diana has rarely looked as beautiful as she does as rendered by artist Nicola Scott. Diana is as beautiful as she is well built. She is a physically fit warrior woman, but a very feminine and attractive woman at the same time. Diana is a living and breathing representation of the classical form. She is, and always has been, at home amongst the neo-classical structures, architecture, and values of the ideal and enlightened neo-classical American capital and philosophy. Scott captures and portrays all the elements of Wonder Woman’s physicality and The United States’ capital city powerfully.
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 does for Wonder Woman what Blackest Night: Superman did for Superman. Namely, it captures the essence and greatness of Wonder Woman’s character. It’s a shame that such perfect portraits of Diana are as rare as they are.
Rating: 9 /10